Competing in just her third WTA main draw, Clara Tauson's dream run at the Open 6ème Sens - Métropole de Lyon has taken her all the way to the final as the 18-year-old overcame No.7 seed Paula Badosa 7-5, 6-1 in one hour and 30 minutes.

There, she will face fellow qualifier Viktorija Golubic, who squeaked past No.2 seed Fiona Ferro 4-6, 6-0, 7-6(4) in a two-hour, 26-minute marathon. The title match will be the first WTA final between two qualifiers since the 2017 Japan Women's Open in Tokyo, where Zarina Diyas defeated Miyu Kato 6-2, 7-5 to claim her maiden trophy.

Indeed, the Lyon final will pit two of the most in-form players on the ITF World Tour so far this season against each other for the second time. Tauson, whose 2021 record is 18-3, beat Golubic 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 in the Fujairah ITF W25 final in January. Golubic rebounded in her next tournament to win the Grenoble ITF W25 in February, and her record this year is 19-3.

2021 Lyon Highlights: Tauson beats Badosa for first WTA final

Little separated Tauson and Badosa through the first 10 games of their contest. Twice, the pair exchanged breaks, and though both would intermittently come up with their best tennis, neither could do it consistently enough to pull ahead.

At 5-5, with tension mounting, it was Tauson who seized control. The World No.139 was vocally frustrated after a trio of overrules from the umpire's chair went against her, but channelled this into her shotmaking. The quality of the match rocketed up in the final game of the set, with Tauson clubbing her backhand with renewed vigor to break Badosa and take a hard-fought lead.

The second set was less dramatic. The Spaniard took a medical time-out at the first change of ends and returned to court with a heavily strapped left leg and visibly hampered movement. Badosa's serve was an increasing weakness, with two of her eight double faults coming down break point. 

By contrast, Tauson's first serve would enable to tighten her grasp on the match. Winning 81% of the points behind it, the teenager fired seven aces, and closed out a milestone victory by clubbing a backhand winner crosscourt.

A seesaw second semifinal saw Golubic lose the first set from a break up, whitewash Ferro in the second for the loss of only seven points, and then recover from 0-2 down to edge a nailbiting climax. The Swiss World No.130's speed around the court and her one-handed backhand proved crucial. As she served down 5-6 in the third set, Golubic was two points from defeat four times, but after escaping with the hold took control of the deciding tiebreak.

Golubic, who had also ended French hopes in the second round with an upset of No.3 seed Caroline Garcia, will contest her third career final following her title run on home soil at Gstaad 2016 and a runner-up showing in Linz the same year.